Please do not post a support request without first reading and following the advice in https://retropie.org.uk/forum/topic/3/read-this-first

Where to (legally) acquire content to play on RetroPie



  • This is a big list, for the benefit of n00bs, of places where you can acquire content for RetroPie which is completely in the clear legally with no ambiguity. The fact is that not only is downloading emulators legal, but downloading ROMs can also be legal depending on what they are and where you're getting them from, just like downloading music files or videos or ebooks or anything else. ROMs are just computer files, made of 1s and 0s exactly like any other computer files.

    I should mention that the term "abandonware" is a moral term, not a legal term. Downloading abandonware is at the same time perfectly moral and totally illegal. Redistributing abandonware is a dirty crime for which the Thought Police are certain to break down your door and drag you away off to Room 101 for re-education. So, we will not be listing any abandonware sites here.

    To the best of my knowledge, everything on this list is not only moral to download, but is also legal to download, which narrows the field quite a bit since these two things (moral and legal) are absolutely not the same thing at all. There are many things which are perfectly moral to download but which are at the same time absolutely not legal to download (or which float in a legal grey area) and those things are not allowed on here. We're trying to only include stuff that we know is as legal to download as we can ever know anything is.

    I will divide this into free content and paid content.

    Free

    One site that's definitely worth checking out for multiple systems is PDRoms. They archive ROMs but try very hard to only include ROMs for which they have the permission of the creators to freely redistribute.

    Another site worth checking out for free homebrews on multiple systems is Shiru's Stuff.

    Arcade

    Atari 2600

    • Cave In is a pretty awesome homebrew game.

    ColecoVision

    Dreamcast

    • Volgarr the Viking - a free Dreamcast port created by fans with full permission of Crazy Viking Studios. It should work in principle. However, so far I have not gotten it to run successfully on RetroPie.

    Gameboy Color

    NES

    • D+Pad Hero 1 & 2 is a series of rhythm/music games for the NES.

    • LizardNES has a free prototype ROM you can download to try out.

    • MOON8 is Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon redone as a music cart.

    • Mystic Origins is a very small demo of the upcoming much bigger NES homebrew game Mystic Searches by The New 8-Bit Heroes. It has an unusual mapper but it works on RetroPie with the lr-fceumm emulator. To get the ROM so you can play on the PI, you need to extract it from the .jar file provided using 7-zip or some other archiving program which supports .jar. Don't worry: the game's developer is cool with this.

    • STREEMERZ is a homebrew by "Faux Games"

    • TheWit.nes is an NES demake of Jonathan Blow's The Witness.

    SNES

    Ports

    • Commander Keen 1, 4 and the unofficial 7, 8 & 9. (via Commander Genius)

    Doom WADs

    WAD is a file format which stands for "Where's All the Data?" If Doom was a console, then modern source ports like zDoom would be the emulator and WADs would be the ROMs. There are two kinds of WADs: IWADs and PWADs. IWADs are full games while PWADs are patches which are applied to games. Most Doom mods are distributed as PWADs to be used on top of the base game. Here are a few notable Doom WADs you can download and use in RetroPie:

    Quake PAKs

    Additionally, you can watch Diary of a Camper and other Quake 1 machinima films created as Quake 1 demos, because making short films and distributing them as Quake 1 demo files was totally a thing back in the day.

    Paid

    Atari 2600

    • Atari Vault comes with some VCS ROMs. On Windows, you will find your ROMs in the folder C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Atari Vault\AtariVault_Data\StreamingAssets\FOCAL_Emulator

    Gameboy / Gameboy Color

    • Little Sound DJ is a great commercial music program for the Gameboy / Gameboy Color which is sold as a ROM download.

    NES

    Sega Genesis / MegaDrive

    • SEGA Mega Drive and Genesis Classics on Steam gives you a folder called "Uncompressed ROMs" which contains DRM-free ready-to-play ROM files for many SEGA Mega Drive and Genesis titles including the Sonic the Hedgehog series. They even encourage people to redistribute their ROM hacks through Steam Workshop. They have also been occasionally putting these on sale for dirt cheap. What I'm saying is that SEGA is cool. SEGA does what Nintendon't. Buy this. No excuses. On Windows, you should find your ROMs in the folder C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Sega Classics\uncompressed ROMs\ and ROM hacks from Workshop should be in the folder C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\workshop\content\34270\

    ScummVM

    • Myst: Masterpiece Edition works on RetroPie via ScummVM. If you bought it on GOG and installed on Windows then just copy the entire game folder into your roms\scummvm folder, add it in the ScummVM GUI and you're good to go.

    SNES

    • Super 3D Noah's Ark on itch.io comes with a Steam key, a nice modern source port for several systems (not Raspberry PI tho), the DOS version and the SNES ROM. (because I personally nagged them to add it)

    Neo Geo

    PSP

    • Retro City Rampage DX for the PSP works great on RetroPie via PPSSPP. Buying this title on the Playstation Store for PS3 or PS4 should include the PSP version as a free bonus.

    Ports

    You can purchase content which you can also use with RetroPie through buying the full PC versions of all these games:

    • Commander Keen series (via Commander Genius)
    • Descent 1 & 2 (runs perfect except for total lack of sound!)
    • Doom, Doom 2 and Final Doom
    • Duke Nukem 3D + Addons + NAM a.k.a. Napalm (via eDuke32)
    • Quake 1, Quake 1 Mission Packs, Quake 3
    • Wolfenstein 3D & Spear of Destiny

    Stuff that might work maybe if you're lucky?

    • Heretic, Hexen 1 & 2, Strife? (via Doom source port(s)) Anyone tried these?

    Know of more? Please suggest!!


  • Global Moderator

    @BenMcLean

    I'm a little worried that this thread will need to be constantly watched and verified, as some well-intended additions might unknowingly be copyrighted material. At the very least, it should be stated up front that no "Abandonware" sites should ever be listed, as it's a community classification that has no legal standing.



  • @mediamogul said in Where to (legally) acquire content to play on RetroPie:

    @BenMcLean

    I'm a little worried that this thread will have to be constantly watched and checked, as some well intended additions might unknowingly be copyrighted material. At the very least, it should be stated up front that no "Abandonware" sites should ever be listed, as it's a community classification that has no legal standing.

    Yes, I will edit to add that and also, to prevent the thread from becoming too ridiculously long for anyone to read, I am categorically excluding DOS games because the library of games which DOSBOX supports and which will run just fine through RetroPie is so staggeringly huge that we have no chance to even start on it. So when it comes to DOS games, I am only including DOS games which have modern source ports that run on RetroPie. Also, I am excluding anything for which the full experience is already accessible through the RetroPie setup script, so no Prince of Persia or Tyrian.



  • Oh, wow. I had no idea that X-Men: The Ravages of Apocalypse is freeware! I thought the only way to play it was dirty, dirty piracy. Well ... I must see if I can get that working now. :D


  • administrators

    @mediamogul I also agree. Abandonware is too grey an area for here. Because assets can still be IP. The only stuff I'd be comfortable with are the sources that are legally licenced and being sold like Segas rompacks or the Daphne games through digital leisure



  • @herb_fargus said in Where to (legally) acquire content to play on RetroPie:

    @mediamogul I also agree. Abandonware is too grey an area for here. Because assets can still be IP. The only stuff I'd be comfortable with are the sources that are legally licenced and being sold like Segas rompacks or the Daphne games through digital leisure

    I must confess that I had to look up what Daphne does.


  • Global Moderator

    @BenMcLean

    I have this thing where I'll hear a theme or piece of music and remember it forever. Yesterday, after not having heard it for thirty odd years, I rendered the entire theme song to ALF in a Bing Crosby-esque series of ba ba ba ba booms until I was threatened with excommunication from my surrounding peers. I can't help but wonder if in another thirty years, my assisted caregiver won't be withholding my Jello cup until I agree to stop singing 'the Laserdisk Song'.



  • There is guy named Shiru, from Moscow. He made some cool games for NES (and other systems too):
    https://shiru.untergrund.net/software.shtml

    My favorite one is Zooming Secretary.



  • @BenMcLean I use Chocolate Doom for Heretic, Hexen and Strife. There is a scriptmodule available at the RetroPie-Extra repo but it wasn't working last time I tried as Chocolate Doom was defaulting to the sdl2-branch. According to the Chocolate Doom wiki, this branch should build fine in RetroPie though I haven't tried it myself. Building from the master branch, Chocolate Doom works fine.



  • Nes - Homebrew
    Buster blade
    Alter Ego

    GBC - Homebrew
    uCity ( aka microcity)


  • Global Moderator

    @BenMcLean

    Super Boss Gaiden is ... a thing.

    It also has the distinction of being the first game to ever run on the Nintendo Playstation.



  • @BenMcLean

    Oh, wow. I had no idea that X-Men: The Ravages of Apocalypse is freeware! I thought the only way to play it was dirty, dirty piracy. Well ... I must see if I can get that working now. :D

    Wow, I wasn't aware of that either. I actually purchased X-Men: The Ravages of Apocalypse from CompUSA's discount bin many years ago. Also, I can remember going to that Liberated Games site back in the day looking for free games. Brings back a lot of memories. I guess it's not around anymore.

    If you figure out how to get it working, please post your findings in a new thread and tag me so I can check it out :)



  • Dreamcast Port
    -Volgarr - which was given permission by the creators to port it.



  • @backstander said in Where to (legally) acquire content to play on RetroPie:

    If you figure out how to get it working, please post your findings in a new thread and tag me so I can check it out :)

    I got it working on the first try, except that all the textures are blurry. This game really needs to have the anti-aliasing on the textures turned off, otherwise everything on the walls is a blur-fest. It should be using Nearest Neighbor or whatever else keeps the pixels sharp on the wall textures. But I couldn't find that in the menus. The setting for anti-aliasing didn't seem to change anything.

    Also, I'm not certain how this game is supposed to behave, (never played it before) but I wasn't able to figure out how to get out of the menu level and into the game proper. It could just be me wandering around being stupid causing that, or it could be some code difference. Not sure. I'll have to research it.

    Also, I think Quake on Raspberry PI 3 might benefit generally from scaling things down to 720p to get a more consistent framerate. It chugs a little at 1080p, especially when it has to play multiple sound effects. That is bad news for a hardcore game like Quake.

    I am also going to get Quake Rally and The Quake Matrix working, which were two rockin Quake mods I remember from back in the day.



  • @meleu +1
    Yes Shiru's stuff is fine - his SNES conversion of Donkey Kong is legendary :)

    There is also a classic game converted to Genesis for free... Oh Mummy!



  • I just edited to add some more stuff. I will be adding the homebrews that have been recommended after I have checked that they are legal and that they run on RetroPie.

    Also, I need to find where I put my instructions for how to extract "ROM City Rampage" and post that for anyone who owns Retro City Rampage DX on Steam and wants to get the NES prototype ROM extracted just because curiosity.

    For actually running Retro City Rampage on the RetroPie, I could be wrong but the PSP port via PPSSPP might actually be your best bet. I'm gonna try that at some point.


  • Global Moderator

    @BenMcLean

    the PSP port via PPSSPP might actually be your best bet.

    Don't forget the 486 version through DOSBox. It doesn't have the fantastic chiptunes, but it's an amazing feat of programming that he was able to otherwise get the whole game to fit on a single 1.4 MB floppy. I also have 'Rom City Rampage' on my setup. It's very impressive itself for what it is.



  • @mediamogul said in Where to (legally) acquire content to play on RetroPie:

    Don't forget the 486 version through DOSBox. It doesn't have the fantastic chiptunes, but it's an amazing feat of programming that he was able to otherwise get the whole game to fit on a single 1.4 MB floppy.

    Yeah, Retro City Rampage 486 would be the easiest version to run, but the PSP version would have the nice chiptunes and minigames. If it runs at full speed then it would be the most full-featured version to work on RetroPie AFAIK.


  • Global Moderator

    @BenMcLean

    If it runs at full speed then it would be the most full-featured version to work on RetroPie AFAIK.

    Very true. If I remember correctly, @edmaul69 has previously confirmed that the PSP version runs very well.



  • @BenMcLean @mediamogul yup. The psp version runs great. Me and my godson play it all the time.


 

Contributions to the project are always appreciated, so if you would like to support us with a donation you can do so here.

Hosting provided by Mythic-Beasts. See the Hosting Information page for more information.